He’s Not Just Mean, Sis. He’s Abusive.

The Ideal Firestarter is aware that Teen Dating Violence is in February, and this is December. Consider this your two month headstart.

I am tired of hearing of young women dying.

I am tired of hearing young women dying at the hands of young men who can’t by liquor. As a mother of daughters, I have to prepare them to defend themselves from young men that don’t know what “No” means, and God forbid something happen to them, they may not be believed.

It doesn’t help to cry anymore.

This past week, there was a 17-year-old pregnant girl that was murdered by her 16-year-old boyfriend. I don’t understand! I don’t get it! I want to know why he thought it was okay to take her life, while carrying life, because he didn’t want to be a parent. He said that he had thought about killing her for over a week! What the (bleep) is going on?!

Buy condoms. Or pay for an abortion. Or MAN-UP. These are the only options. No where in this should murder be a form of contraception!

The rage that wells up when I read these stories, can only be understood if you a parent. Especially a mother. And the mother of daughters.

To my Firestarters whom are dating in high school and college, I need you to do one thing, if you do nothing else (or follow nothing else)–pay attention to your gut! Pay attention to the inklings, the hunches, the ‘something told me not to go.’ These inklings may save your life. I need you to understand this. I need you to get this, and make it part of your common sense!

It doesn’t always start off with a slap.

It doesn’t always start with stalking.

It can start with a raised voice, when you have done nothing wrong. Isolating you from friends, activities, and family members.

The manipulation of emotions:  “If you love me, you would.”  “Why do you make me so mad?”  “You know how I get!”

It can be the pressure to have sex. The possessiveness of your time and resources.

There is a build-up to the slap. There is a build-up to the bruises. There is a build-up to gross bodily harm…or your death!

Don’t think that I’m being as  one of your parents, unworldly and unaware. Your virtual Big Sister is aware of more than you think I am! I know that when your parents have an inkling about someone, its probably correct. It’s probably accurate!

The young man that hits you when you don’t call him back? Abusive. The young man that texts you obscene stuff because he’s mad at you, peppered with the word trifecta of ‘bitch,’ ‘whore’, ‘slut’ because you ‘did something’ he didn’t like? He’s abusive. The dude that comes up to your job tripping and clowning because he thinks you’re cheating on him or ignoring him? He’s abusive.

He’s not playing or play-fighting with you. These are indicators to potential further problematic behavior. Abusers look for the silent and vulnerable. Someone they can dominate and control:  this permits them to continue their extreme behavior unchecked!

If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, or toxic situation, please seek help to leave. This can be a counselor at your school, clergy person or if need be, the police (make this the last resort!). Also keep in mind these three things as you prepare to leave the situation/end the relationship:

Whatever you have in their possession, if it can be replaced, leave it!

Don’t go confront them alone, with no one knowing where you are!

If you feel like you have to go alone,  give a time frame and let at least 2 people know where you are! If you have to exchange property do so in a public place, and again, don’t go alone.

After all items are exchanged, change your number and update social media accordingly.  These things may seem trivial, and as if you are over-reacting. But in cases of abuse, you have to be vigilant and pro-active.

Take heart, Firestarters. Love doesn’t hurt. You are special, worthy and deserving of love and respect. Don’t settle for people who have no idea what you are, what you carry, and what you add to the world. If they don’t value you, they are of no use to you. And treat them accordingly.

[Images from jackiebrewton.com, wmicentral.com, 211la.com]

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